Researchers from a nonprofit group released a report claiming that elementary school students will need at least three years to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and return to their pre-pandemic learning skills.
As reported by the New York Post, the report was released on Tuesday by the nonprofit group Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), which focuses on educational standards in K-12 grades.
“What we see in these results is really a mixed bag — some early signs of optimism, but also definitely need for continued urgency in coping with this crisis,” said Dr. Karyn Lewis, a spokeswoman for NWEA and one of the authors of the report. “We need to be realistic about what the timeline is for recovery. And based on these results, it’s most certainly a multi-year effort.”
The research was compiled by analyzing data from 8.3 million students from over 25,000 public schools across the country, all of whom took the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth assessment in reading and math over the course of the pandemic. The data was then compared to students’ performances in the years prior to the pandemic.
The report alleges, among other claims, that middle school students will be slower to recover than elementary school students, and that high school students have fallen even further behind than middle schoolers. The researchers also claim that a full recovery in the subject of reading will likely happen before the students fully recover their math skills.
However, student progress in the 2021-2022 academic year was closer to the pre-pandemic rates, suggesting that the recovery may already be well underway.
“These signs of rebounding are especially heartening during another challenging school year of more variants, staff shortages, and a host of uncertainties,” Lewis explained. “We think that speaks volumes to the tremendous effort put forth by our schools to support students.”